Recent security breach at Dallas Love Field raises security concerns

Dallas Love Field and city officials are not saying much about a recent security breach.

In January, a man found his way into an area he should not have been where planes are prepped to be placed into service. It’s unclear how long he was on airport property before he was discovered.

While it appears there was no intent to do harm by the man who scaled fences to get into off-limit areas, it could have turned out much differently.

On January 28, authorities say a man was able to climb fences and get into the most secured area where planes are prepared for service. He was actually found inside an airplane.

“I think it shows you that security is kind of an evolving situation,” said Gil Torrez, a former FBI agent. “A mere barrier is not necessarily gonna do it.”

Matthew Williams was arrested and charged with criminal trespass.

Court documents detail what happened at Love Field read that he “intentionally and knowingly entered and remained in a critical infrastructure facility, an enclosure obviously designed to exclude intruders.”

Case filings show Williams will be given a psychological examination. While he may have posed no threat the unanswered question is how did he get into a highly restricted area.

“If a person who is homeless or distraught or maybe even mentally deficient in some way can do this, then someone who has ill will can also do it or try to do it,” Torrez warned.

While Williams apparently walked on to property and climbed fences to a secure area, this is not the first security breach at Love Field.

In April 2013, a Garland man approached a gate on the Lemmon Avenue side of the airport when an operator opened the gate to see what he wanted. He sped past him and went into secure areas and onto the airport taxiway. He gained access to an area reserved for planes and fuel.

In August 2010, a man took police on an hour-long chase and crashed the pickup truck he was in through a locked chain-link fence and drove on to the tarmac.

“Breaches in security happen all the time,” Torrez said. “It’s just, again, an evolving thing those that are in charge of security need to stay on it and suggest to their superiors and their employers that every once and a while you got to change it up and improve.”  

The Federal Aviation Administration and other agencies were notified about what happened at Love Field last month.

FOX 4 pressed to find out more about what type of security assessment, if any, has been done since the incident, but officials at Love Field would not comment and referred us to DPD. The Dallas Police Department declined an interview.